Despite adding body styles, Renault kept the development cost of the new Megane the same as the first generation by designing all variations simultaneously and using more common parts.
Renault wanted to appeal to a broader and more youthful audience with the new Megane, so the various derivatives are more distinctive than was the case with the old range. The Scenic compact minivan, for example, is more differentiated from the hatchback. There are seven body styles in total.
The original Megane started with a limited range of body styles that were added to as the program evolved.
The Megane II range has far more common parts across the range, said Carlos Tavares, project chief manager.
"But we increased dramatically the final differentiation for the customer," he added.
Renault reduced the development time on the new model from 46 months to 29 months from design freeze to marketing approval. That was achieved mainly by working more closely with the supply chain during development, Tavares said. Renault held some meetings with the 200 suppliers on the project, but most work was with 10 Tier 1 module suppliers.
"In some cases we went down to Tier 4, to the tool makers, to make sure that the priorities were understood by everyone," said Tavares.
Time between tooling launch and marketing approval was cut from 27 months to 17 months by breaking the program into a series of objectives that all parties focused on in sequence, said Tavares. Renault ran regular seminars with suppliers to monitor progress toward the objectives.
"The last 17 months were divided into a succession of six or seven little sprints," Tavares said.
Renault placed greater emphasis on timing and on staying faithful to decisions once they were made.